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Saint Sebastian Players' IN THE MATTER OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER to Open on Valentine's Day

The Saint Sebastian Players (SSP) continue the company's 33rd season with In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Heinar Kipphardt. Performances are February 14-March 9 at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, Chicago.

Inspired by the U.S. government's secret review of the security credentials of "the father of the atomic bomb," this tense courtroom drama provides valuable insights into the development of the atomic bomb and the postwar debate among scientists about the hydrogen bomb, the conflict between the foreign policy and military establishments over national defense and security, and the controversy about the proper standards to apply in assessing an individual's loyalty. The play reveals the fears and anxieties that plagued America during the Cold War era-and still perplex us today, 60 years later.

Making her SSP directing debut for In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer is Kaitlin Taylor, who assistant-directed SSP's The Dining Room and Measure for Measure. Her directing credits include Higgledy-Trilogy for the Short Attention Span One-Act Festival at Fury Theatre, Bloodsport: The Musical at Public House Theater, The Man from Earth at Point Park University and Waiting at Pittsburgh Playhouse.

The cast includes SSP company members Jonathan Rocky Hagloch, Donald Aric Johnson and Steven Walanka, as well as Gary F. Barth as the title character, Patrick Bromley, Julian David Colletta, Matthew Fayfer, Marshall Jacobson, Robert Kaercher, Eric S. Prahl, Rocco Renda, Steven Rowland, Paul Russell and Thomas Sparks. SSP company members on the production team include Emil Zbella as set designer, Paula Kenar as costume designer and Beth Bruins as stage manager, with company members Jim Masini, Nancy Pollock and Steven Walanka as co-producers.

SSP began producing theatre in 1982 at its original home, the St. Sebastian parish, at the corner of Halsted Street and Wellington Avenue on Chicago's North Side. When the parish closed, SSP relocated to its current home, St. Bonaventure, at 1625 W. Diversey. During its history, the company has produced original and previously produced dramas, comedies and musicals; original audience-participation mysteries for special events; and the Monologue Matchup Competition, as well as provided support for smaller Sebastian Studio Projects produced by company members. A complete list of mainstage productions is available on SSP's website.

SSP's 33rd season concludes with Death Defying Acts, three one-act comedies by Woody Allen, David Mamet and Elaine May, which runs April 25-May 18, 2014.

In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer runs February 14-March 9, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, at Marshfield just west of Ashland, in Chicago. Free parking is available in two lots. Full-priced single tickets are $20, $15 for students with valid IDs and $10 for seniors and children younger than 12. Group rates also are available. All programming is subject to change. For information, call 773-404-7922 or visit

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